No student can function well without fuel for the brain. Going to school without breakfast is starting the tank on near empty. The body’s metabolism is slowed until the first meal to break the fast and it is running on reserve supply until then.
“B” could also stand for B vitamins as they help to convert the nutrients of food into energy; and there lies the next problem when developing a better student. How nutritious is the food if breakfast is eaten?
Children and teenagers require quite large amounts of nutrients to supply a growing body. Now, I didn’t say they required large amounts of kilojoules, as it is nutrients that build healthy bodies and minds. Poor choices in food quality can lead to delivery of lots of kilojoules with few nutrients. This may lead to the problem of childhood obesity.
Parents play a pivotal role in the development of their children’s eating habits. They do this in their role of parent by not giving into the child’s whims for their favourite snack foods and their position as role model when they lead by example.
The energy requirement of a teenager in growth spurt is only marginally greater than that of pre-teen children and adults but their protective nutrient (protein, vitamins and minerals) per unit of energy consumed is greater. This means a teenager requires high quality nutrient foods to maintain healthy body and mind rather than high energy foods to keep them active.
“The energy needs of teenage athletes are increased, often greatly, if heavy training and competitive sports are involved.” (Human Nutrition and Dietetics – Ninth Edition).
It is important for your child to maintain three meals a day with the addition of healthy snacks for morning and afternoon tea.
By Peter Kenyon